Fri, Jul 09, 2004 - Page 3 News List

City spokesman sued over campaign ads

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City councilors, from left to right, Lu Ying-ying, Wang Shih-chien, Yen Sheng-kuan and Hsu Kuo-yung, call for the resignation of Taipei City Government spokesman Wu Yu-sheng outside the Taipei City Prosecutor's Office yesterday.

PHOTO: CHEN TSE-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

Five Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors yesterday filed suit against Taipei City Government Spokesman Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇), accusing him of using public resources to fund advertising materials for his legislative campaign.

One of the councilors, Wang Shih-chien (王世堅), said that when Wu announced he would campaign for a legislative seat in December and signed up for the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) primary, he was qualified as a legislative candidate as required in the Political Donations Law (政治獻金法).

However, Wang said, Wu refused to separate his role as government spokesman from that of legislative candidate, and set up campaign ads offered by an advertisement agency on a city-funded electronic billboard located on the intersection of Zhongxiao E Road and Jilong Road.

The billboard is funded by the city's Department of Information to provide news of municipal activities and forthcoming city government policies.

According to DPP City Councilor Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇), the electronic billboard has shown the slogans "Please support Wu Yu-sheng in the KMT's primary" and "Taipei City Government's Department of Information cares about you" since June 20.

But, Hsu alleged, the department did not deal with the matter even though people had called in to complain that it was inappropriate to run campaign ads on city-funded billboards.

The campaign material was apparently not removed from the billboard until the media raised the issue on Monday.

Wang said that they had also filed a request to the Control Yuan to impeach Wu.

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said that as soon as he learned of the matter, he issued Wu with a verbal warning.

In response to the councilors' accusations, Wu yesterday afternoon held a news conference at the Cathay General Hospital, where he has been hospitalized for tonsillitis since Monday, to deny accusations that graft was involved.

For Wu, the whole incident was simply an "imperfection in political ethics" but did not violate any law. He said the advertising agency ran the campaign ads for him without notifying him.

"I think the biggest mistake I made in this affair was not asking the company to remove the ad as soon as the situation came to my attention," Wu said.

Wu said that he was not involved in corrupt activities as the councilors had alleged. He also insisted that he was not faking his illness to avoid fallout from the matter.

additional reporting by Jimmy Chuang

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